Philippe Senderos and Gael Clichy continued their comebacks as
Arsenal beat Charlton 2-1 in a Reserve team friendly played
behind-closed-doors at the Training Ground on Tuesday
The duo, on the way back after respective shoulder and foot
injuries, came through unscathed as the two London clubs sent out
their second string sides with a sprinkling of those first-teamers
not on international duty. It made for a competitive game.
Souleymane Diawara's own goal gave Arsenal the lead midway
through the first half and Fran Merida added a fine second. A
close-range strike from Darren Ambrose offered the visitors some
hope four minutes from time but it was too little, too late.
Charlton were the brighter side in the opening minutes and would
have gone ahead but for Matthew Connolly's fantastic block on
the edge of the six-yard box to stop Marcus Bent scoring.
Despite the lion's share of possession and excellent
approach play, Arsenal did not create that much for the first
quarter of the game. Mark Randall sent a hopeful cross trickling
through the six-yard box and Jeremie Aliadiere nodded just
However they took the lead in the 26th minute when Clichy
threaded a cute ball through for Baptista. For once, his first
touch was poor and Diawara intercepted inside the area. In doing so
the French centre back managed to steer the ball past his own
keeper at the near post.
Baptista was starting to look strong. Just past the hour, the
Brazilian's powerful run took him past two defenders on the
right of the area. His firm low shot was parried by Stephan
Andersen and Diawara just managed to divert the ball behind before
the sliding Aliadiere could convert.
Ten minutes before the break, Baptista cleverly set up Nacer
Barazite who cracked an effort over the bar.
There were a couple of changes at the break. Fran Merida was one
of them and the Spaniard added a second goal in the 54th minute
when his low, long-range effort squeezed between Andersen's
left hand and the post.
It was becoming one-way traffic. Aliadiere threatened a third
but was crowded out then Bazarite's swirling far-post cross set
up Senderos to thud in a header. Denilson's 30-yard bullet-shot
was tipped over and Aliadiere sent in a stinging shot on the
In the 80th minute, Giorgos Efrem set up Armand Traore for the
best chance of all. The young French full back was clear on the
left of the area with only Andersen to beat but the keeper stood up
well to block his rasping shot at the near post.
However, Charlton grabbed an excellent goal with six minutes
left. Substitute Nathan Ashton picked up the ball around halfway on
the left flank and dribbled around a couple of Arsenal defenders
before finding Ambrose in the six-yard box.
The former Newcastle attacker took his time and Almunia did get
a hand to his shot however it managed to find its way into the
corner of the net.
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